VACo supports bill to return authority to counties to determine local tax incentives for large solar projects

January 14, 2020

SB 800 (Lewis) advances the sunset date of the state-mandated 80% tax exemption from Machinery and Tool Tax (M&T) for utility-scale solar projects greater than 20 megawatts (MW) from 2024 to 2021. This proposed change will allow counties to decide by local ordinance, as is allowed under Virginia law, to determine at their discretion a lower M&T rate for projects greater than 20 MW in generating capacity. The legislation has been assigned to the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee where it may be considered as early as Tuesday, January 21.

Successful legislation supported by VACo in 2018 returned this authority to counties for projects 150 MW or larger in capacity in advance of the 2024 sunset date.

Key Points

  • Solar facilities generating greater than 20 MW and less than 150 MW in generating capacity can occupy anywhere from several hundred acres to more than two square miles and are in effect largescale power plants with oversized footprints.
  • This bill allows localities, at their discretion, to provide a tax incentive for these larger installations.

VACo Contacts: Joe Lerch, AICP and Chris McDonald, Esq.

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